Report: Fortified cereals give too many vitamins to children

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Some fortified cereals are stuffed with vitamins and minerals so they look more nutritious, and they'll sell better. One report says that's causing heath problems in millions of children under the age of 8 because they're getting too many vitamins.

The report from the Environmental Working Group says its study of more than 1,500 cereals found young children are at risk of consuming too much vitamin A, zinc and niacin.

The group says people don't realize the FDA daily values that label your foods are for adults. So children are receiving adult portions of vitamins, which could cause serious health issues.

The report estimates more than 10.5 million children, 2-to-8 years old, are over-exposed to vitamin A. That can cause liver damage, brittle nails and hair loss. Up to about 17 million children in that group take in too much zinc.  That can cause anemia and changes in red and white blood cells. More than 4.5 million children in that age group eat too much niacin.

Kelly Snow, a local dietician for the Grand Strand Medical Center says the study simply isn't accurate. She says you would have to feed your child that food for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day to see the toxic levels the report references.

If they eat a bowl for breakfast, they're not at risk.

Dr. Ron Reynolds with Beach Urgent Care says it's an ongoing study into daily values.

"More work needs to be done to determine exactly what differences should there be, and should there be different valuations for the cereal boxes as far as what the daily limits should be."

The group behind the study says parents should be cautious with products that have 20 or 25 percent of the adult daily value for vitamin A, zinc or niacin. Snow agrees that it's probably a good idea to limit that, just to be safe.

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